Sunday, 7 March 2010

Wargame Rules - Command and Control

Austrian commanders


We had an excellent game yesterday. Jan was defending a village with a Poor commander, and I was attacking with an Average commander. In any good set of rules the advantage should be with the defender, and indeed it is the case with our rules. Jan, and her Poor commander, won the game – and justly deserved to do so. However it caused me to reconsider the command and control element of our rules.

Command and Control is the thing which gives our rules their edge. There are three types of commander Gifted, Average and Poor. To issue orders the commander rolls one average dice and adds plus 3 if he is Gifted, plus 2 if Average and plus 1 if Poor. The total is called Command Points. Consequently a Gifted commander could have a range of 5-8, an Average commander 4-7 and a Poor one 3-6. Not a huge difference, but a significant one.

In addition in a larger game, where we might have six commanders, we use a device called a Poor Card. The moves are card driven, with one card for each commander. The cards are mixed and one drawn each turn to decide who will be the next commander to have his turn. If the Poor Card is drawn, the next Poor commander (on either side) can not issue any orders. He can react if attacked but nothing more. He does however have to check his morale as normal. In one recent game the same Poor commander was unable to issue orders for three consecutive moves due to the Poor Card!

Command Points are used to issue orders. The corps commander must be within 8” of a brigade to issue an order. He must issue orders for each brigade to move, change formation, skirmish or fire. He must also use a command point to move himself around the battlefield. So with six brigades, plus himself, he will rarely have sufficient Command Points to do everything he wants to do. And, of course, this is the intention.

However it will be obvious that in defence there is little movement to do, other than reposition reserves. So even a Poor commander will usually have sufficient points to do anything he wants to.

An attacking commander will always be short of points. Again this is intended, but I have come to the conclusion that there is too much of a disadvantage for the attacker. It also results in very slow opening moves, and makes it too easy for the defender to react to the attacker.

It’s ok if both are advancing towards each other, an engagement battle. However these happen less and less in the campaign.

To solve this problem I am looking at some sort of “corps order”, where less command points would be required if all brigades were in close support and all doing the same thing. For example a corps advancing along a road in column of march. It might also apply to a corps advancing towards the enemy who wanted to change formation from column of march to column of attack, but would only apply to the infantry brigades. The cavalry and artillery could not form column of march and would require normal command points as the whole corps was not doing the same thing.

To maintain the difficulty of command and control for different types of commander I am considering that this “corps order” might take one Command Point for a Gifted commander, two for an Average one and three for a Poor one.

We are starting a new game this afternoon so I will try it out then and see how it works. I will report on how it goes, and will not be changing the rules until I have tested it a few times.

1 comment:

Adelaide Gamer said...

Nice to see someone abstracting the C3 aspects into workable wargame rules. Nice blog.